OpenStack CLI

CLI Cheat Sheet

The OpenStack CLI is designed for interactive use.

It’s also possible to call it from a bash script or similar, but typically it is too slow for heavy scripting use.

Command Line setup

To use the CLI, you must create an application credentials and set the appropriate environment variables.

The easiest way to do this is to go to and log in. Then navigate to Identity > Application Credentials on the sidebar.

Click on Create Application Credential and provide a name and role for the application credential. All other fields are optional and leaving the secret field empty will set it to autogenerate (recommended).

Please note that an application credential is only valid for a single project, and to access multiple projects you need to create an application credential for each. You can switch projects by clicking on the project name at the top left corner and choosing from the dropdown.

After clicking Create, the ID and Secret will be displayed and you will be prompted to Download the openrc file or to Download clouds.yaml. Both of these are different methods of configuring the client for CLI access.

OpenRC File

Find the file (by default it will be named the same as the application credential name with the suffix where project is the name of your OpenStack project).

Source the file:

    [kamfonik@ezio ~]$ source

Note that this just stores your entry into the environment variable - there’s no validation at this stage. You can inspect the downloaded file to retrieve the ID and Secret if necessary and see what other environment variables are set.


For more information on configuring the OpenStack Client with clouds.yaml please see the OpenStack documentation

OpenStack Hello World

To test that you have everything configured, try out some commands. The following command lists all the images available to your project:

    [kamfonik@ezio ~]$ openstack image list
    | ID                                   | Name                                     | Status |
    | 64599610-2952-4a1f-9291-2711c966905c | Sahara: Vanilla-MOCRemix on Ubuntu 14.04 | active |
    | df9982fb-aac7-48d4-ad78-93c3105a5d68 | Sahara: Storm 0.9.2 on Ubuntu 14.04      | active |
    | 0fd4d588-77de-4567-afc4-7433ad94fb98 | Sahara: Vanilla 2.7.1 on Ubuntu 14.04    | active |
    | d47e31d3-50e4-4c73-a65c-db17c423e044 | Sahara: Vanilla 2.7.1 on CentOS 6.6      | active |
    | 599fdf40-1fd9-4cda-9d9b-8d91e76d6195 | Sahara: Spark 1.3.1 on Ubuntu 14.04      | active |
    | 0f613a03-a85b-4ce5-be65-2431d9715040 | centos_bmi                               | active |
    | 454d6106-bb8d-4cc4-a8e7-1c0c6ed126ef | centos-6.7                               | active |
    | 3dae6817-36bb-4476-b68f-e743ae5490f3 | ubuntu16.04                              | active |
    | bd62fbfb-937b-4e2c-b4c1-99c7a80841f4 | hortonworks-sandbox                      | active |
    | 07944e19-2474-47e6-8412-57f2c1826570 | cirros-0.3.4-x86_64-disk.img_alt         | active |
    | 30bbd7e6-3a33-4cc3-8cb7-35b797617ac9 | cirros-0.3.4-x86_64-disk.img             | active |
    | 3dfb6cd0-9bf8-4106-b6ef-e735542fb669 | ubuntu-14.04                             | active |
    | 895a5bd0-9508-4c39-ab1c-b19337e61068 | ubuntu-15.10                             | active |
    | 79e50158-1526-4602-b859-6465986e942c | RHEL7.1                                  | active |
    | afba46bb-8be3-4d0f-a845-a3f8ba1cd596 | Centos 7 -RAW                            | active |
    | ef8d3b1d-8639-4e3b-9129-a9aad2c717a1 | Centos 7                                 | active |

If you have launched some instances already, the following command shows a list of your project’s instances:

    [kamfonik@ezio Downloads]$ openstack server list
    | ID                                   | Name             | Status  | Networks                              |
    | 0ec026ff-1014-4953-9660-0b6386915562 | test             | ACTIVE  | kamfonik-net=               |
    | 5e1a685b-db75-4af1-8b1a-c077c1e8b9e4 | kamfonik-gw      | ACTIVE  | kamfonik-net=,               |
    | 34898710-8cf9-44db-9212-32539876e17c | kamfonik-gateway | SHUTOFF | kamfonik-net=                |
    | c04b34d9-b684-40a3-9873-b1bd7daf08bf | inventory-dev    | ACTIVE  | kamfonik-net=                |

If you don’t have any instances, you will get the error list index out of range, which is why we didn’t suggest this command for your first test:

    [kamfonik@ezio ~]$ openstack server list
    list index out of range

If you see this error:

    [kamfonik@ezio]$ openstack server list
    The request you have made requires authentication. (HTTP 401) (Request-ID: req-6a827bf3-d5e8-47f2-984c-b6edeeb2f7fb)

Then your environment variables are likely not configured correctly.

The most common reason is that you made a typo when entering your password. Try sourcing the rc script again and retyping it.

You can type openstack -h to see a list of available commands.

Note that this includes some admin-only commands. If you try one of these by mistake, you might see this output:

    [kamfonik@ezio ~]$ openstack user list
    You are not authorized to perform the requested action: admin_required (HTTP 403) (Request-ID: req-60ceb1b8-a90f-407a-84dd-66e0d4b40869)

Depending on your needs for API interaction, this might be sufficient.

If you just occasionally want to run 1 or 2 of these commands from your terminal, you can do it manually or write a quick bash script that makes use of this CLI.

However, this isn’t a very optimized way to do complex interactions with OpenStack. For that, you want to write scripts that interact with the python bindings directly.

Pro Tip: If you find yourself fiddling extensively with awk and grep to extract things like project IDs from the CLI output, it’s time to move on to using the client libraries or the RESTful API directly in your scripts.